The House of Lords in the Age of Reform, 1784-1837: With an Epilogue on Aristocracy and the Advent of Democracy, 1837-1867

By A. S. Turberville | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
War and Peace: 1801-1816

The period from 1801 to 1816 is among the most eventful in English annals, but it is not of particular importance in the history of the House of Lords, save as the long continuance of the Napoleonic Wars, together with the prevalence of Tory Administrations, increased the strong tendency to conservatism in the Upper House which fears of the French Revolution had already engendered. The Whigs remained weak and ineffective; save for those of their members who were included in the short-lived Ministry of All the Talents, they did not taste the joys of office, and their hopes of being taken into favour when the Prince of Wales assumed the regency in 1811 were speedily dashed.

When, upon Pitt's resignation in February 1801 on account of George III's refusal to agree to a measure of Catholic emancipation,1 an Administration was formed by Addington, he had, as his chief representatives in the House of Lords, Eldon as Lord Chancellor; the Duke of Portland, first as Home Secretary, then as Lord President; the Earl of Westmorland as Lord Privy Seal; the Earl of Chatham, first as Lord President, then at the Ordnance; Lord Hobart as Secretary at War and for the Colonies;2 Lord Auckland at the Board of Trade; Earl St. Vincent at the Admiralty. In July, Lord Pelham3 succeeded Portland at the Home Office; and in the same month Lord Lewisham, the President of the Board of Control, entered the House of Lords as Earl of Dartmouth.4 The exclusion of Lough

____________________
1
For a note on the debate in the House of Lords on Lord Holland's Motion in favour of Catholic Emancipation, 30 April, 1800, see Lady Holland's Journal, Vol. II, p. 76.
2
Son of the 3rd Earl of Buckinghamshire, and summoned in his father's barony of Hobart on 30 November, 1798.
3
His father was created Earl of Chichester, and he was summoned in his father's barony on 20 June, 1807.
4
He was summoned by royal writ as Baron Dartmouth on 15 June, 1801, but his father dying the following month he never sat as such.

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